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Previously, on TOURNAMENT ARC: Across the world, a mysterious organization recruits martial artists for a grand tournament, the Kumite, held once every five years. The winner will receive a prize of one million dollars, and the title of the world's strongest fighter. Who will be invited next? Will they survive the starting round to claim their spot in the tournament and a chance for victory?

Chapters: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Tournament%20Arc
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>>5217534

Kyoto, Japan
198X
8 years ago

You sit in front of your family shrine, looking at the ihai memorial tablet of dark lacquered wood. Inscribed in golden calligraphy is your father's name: Saito Daisuke.

Seven years ago, now, that he left home with a smile, telling you that he'd be back in a week. He would never return.

When Father was here, things were simple. He was a great man, and as his son, you wanted to be just like him. The family was happy. He was loved and respected. Students came from all around to learn at his school. When Father was here, he took care of everything.

Then he was gone.

With his absence came new realities that you had previously been shielded from. Poverty and debt. Cruelty and gossip. Hesitation and doubt. Your once-certain future thrown into turmoil. It's been a hard road for you ever since, with only a memory to guide you.

What made things worse was learning the truth. Although your family publicly announced that he was killed in a tragic vehicle accident, you saw and heard things that made you believe otherwise. When you confronted Grandfather with your suspicions, he reluctantly revealed what happened that day.

Your father's death was not an accident. He was killed in the ring.

Speaking to the ihai tablet, and the memory of your father, you say:

>I will avenge you.
>I will carry on your legacy.
>What would you want me to do?
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>>5217543
>I will carry on your legacy
>I Will become the very best that no one ever has
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>>5217543
>I will avenge you.
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>>5217534
>I will carry on your legacy.
muh family and honour
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>>5217543
>I will avenge you.
I CRAVEVENGEANCE
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>>5217544

Seconding
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>>5217543
>>5217544

Link post
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>>5217544
>Support
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>>5217543
>I will carry on your legacy.
>I'll become a pillar for our family to stand proudly on.
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>>5217543
>What would you want me to do?
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>>5217543
>What would you want me to do?
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>>5217543
>What would you want me to do?
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>>5217543
>What would you want me to do?
Given the circumstances, it seems appropriate that we'd be asking for guidance
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>>5217543
>What would you want me to do?
We've got one person who fights to fight, and one who fights for legacy/fame/home. Let's complete the trilogy with someone looking for answers
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>>5217543
>>5217546
Tiebreaker for
>What would you want me to do?
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>>5217543

"What would you want me to do?" you ask the tablet. When you feel lost, you try to imagine what your father might say. But it's hard to rely on a memory for guidance.

You want to carry on his legacy, but which path should you take to do that? In the years since his death, you've learned that your father's life was more complex than it seemed to you as a child. Which aspect was the true father? The family man? The prestigious martial arts teacher? Or that other life he kept secret?

You still have thoughts of revenge, of making the killer pay. Many have said that your father was not the type of man who would want you to throw away your life on revenge. You're sure that they're right. And yet -- does that make it okay? Maybe it was because your father was such a good man that his killer felt he could get away with what he did. Isn't it up to you to show him that he was wrong? Sometimes you still imagine finding justice by your own hand someday.

One thing you know for certain is that you want to take up the role of head of the family style. With Grandfather taking the place of teacher, you have dedicated yourself completely to physical training and practice. Every day without fail, you pursued whatever takes you closer to your goal of someday becoming the heir of Suigetsu-ryu. Your father's legacy will live on through this, if nothing else.
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>>5218474

Still ruminating on the past, you leave the shrine, intending to step outdoors into the garden for a bit. However, when you open the door leading outside, you're surprised to see a stranger in the garden. Not just that, but a foreigner. A boy, maybe your age, maybe a little older. Blonde hair sticking out unruly from beneath a red baseball cap. He's standing by the pond, looking out at the garden; when he hears you open the door, he looks in your direction for a few moments, then pointedly turns away again.

Okay, that's not what a robber would do, right? You're not sure what to make of this situation. Maybe he's a brat from one of the local military bases, some marine's son who doesn't know the difference between a traditional estate and a tourist destination. Or maybe he's just an idiot.

>Go out there and confront him.
>Watch him to make sure he doesn't do anything weird.
>Go find Grandfather.
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>>5218476
>Go out there and confront him.
Can't risk him breaking anything
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>>5218476
>Go out there and confront him.
Excuse me, sir. Can I help you?
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>>5218476
>Go out there and confront him.
WHATCHU WANT GAIJIN?
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>>5218476
>Watch him to make sure he doesn't do anything weird.
Kid most likely doesn't speak Japanese.
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>>5218476
>Go out there and confront him.
Get off my fucking land! Ree!
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>>5218476
>Go find Grandfather.
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>>5218476
>Confrontation
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>>5218476
>Confront him
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>>5218476

You go out there to confront him yourself. Can't risk him breaking anything. Approaching him, you can see he's a couple inches taller than you, and a good deal heavier. You aren't concerned, though. If things were to get rough, you know you can handle yourself. No way some gaijin ruffian could stand up to you after all your training.

"Excuse me, sir?" you say to get his attention. "Can I help you? What are you doing here?"

The boy looks at you with contempt, says something in English. The language isn't your best subject at school, but you don't need to speak it well to understand that he just told you to buzz off.

"No, seriously," you say, trying to think of how to make yourself understood. "You can't be here. You need to leave." Most likely he doesn't speak Japanese. Maybe you could string together some English. "[You! Go! Now!]"

"[No, me stay now,]" he responds derisively. He adds something you don't catch and makes a dismissive 'go away' gesture before turning back to the pond.

You once knew a boy from school whose family had taken in a stray dog. The dog was well-fed and healthy, but still thin and wiry-strong compared to others of his kind, and his fur bore the scars of the old days, and he was blind in one eye. A wary alertness remained, even after his years of safety. You could pet him. But you couldn't approach too quickly from his blind side.

This boy reminds you of that dog.

You're still puzzling out what to do next when the boy picks up a small stone and sends it skipping across the surface of the water. "Hey, stop!" you call out. "You'll hurt the fish!" The pond is home to a handful of koi fish, some of whom are older than you are.

The boy makes a gesture you're fairly certain is rude in America, then bends down to pick up a second stone. You have to stop him before the fish get hurt or one of the sculptures gets damaged. Before he can throw the stone, you step in and grab his arm at the wrist, preventing him from moving it.

What you're not expecting is his immediate reaction -- not only the speed of it, but that he knows how to break a wrist lock, which is to go forward towards the hold instead of backing away. It's inelegant, but it works. The force of his shove knocks you off balance, and you're forced to take a few steps back before regaining it.

The boy sticks his chin out defiantly as he says something in English, then raises one hand to make a "come on" gesture. Seems like he's ready and willing to pick a fight.

>He's obviously raw and barely trained. Show him the difference between you.
>Back off and try to de-escalate this before it gets out of hand.
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>>5218839
>Back off and try to de-escalate this before it gets out of hand.
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>>5218839
>He's obviously raw and barely trained. Show him the difference between you.
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>>5218839
>Show him the difference.

A dog cannot displace the wolf. Lets go.
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>>5218839
>He's obviously raw and barely trained. Show him the difference between you.
Boys will be boys
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>>5218839
>He's obviously raw and barely trained. Show him the difference between you.
Let's go
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>>5218839
>He's obviously raw and barely trained. Show him the difference between you.
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>>5218839
>He's obviously raw and barely trained. Show him the difference between you.
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>>5218839

This yellow-haired ape is probably used to pushing other kids around to get what he wants. If that's how he likes it, fine. You'll show him that this is a bad idea.

Can't be careless about this, though. Slow your breathing. Take your proper stance. Focus your attention. Then, just he laughs, not taking you seriously -- attack. A swift jab to the jaw, perfect impact. It staggers him back a few feet, he probably didn't even realize it was coming until it had already landed.

"[Why, you little -- come here!]" The foreigner steps forward as he brings his fist back for a big punch, but before he gets in range, you step forward with your front foot to extend your jab, once again striking before he expects it. You follow up with a big step with the other foot and a powerful thrusting straight punch. That sends him down to one knee.

"Had enough yet? Ready to go quietly?" You say it with confidence, but in truth, you expected that blow to knock him down. He's got resilience, if nothing else.

"[Okay, I see how it is.]" The boy stands up and, in a strange gesture you're not familiar with, swivels his baseball cap around to face backwards. "[Guess I better take this seriously.]" He raises his fists in a proper fighting stance for the first time, and you realize you never imagined he had any actual technique to back up his swagger. But you can tell just by looking at his stance that he has a proper teacher, a good one.

When he unloads a furious fist combination of brutal yet precise strikes, you defend as well as you can, and your blocks stifle each blow ... except the last, the one with all the power behind it. That hits you in the left shoulder, and a stinging lance of pain and numbness shoots through your arm, forces you to step back and regroup.

This could be trouble. You thought this kid was just some idiot yankee who had wandered into the wrong place at the wrong time, but that's not true at all. His technique is sloppy and unpracticed, but it's proper combat form. He knows of the Ways. This is a real opponent, maybe the first one you've ever faced.

Any thoughts you had of ejecting an intruder from your yard are gone. All you can think about is right here, right now.
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>>5219559

You step to the attack, and he defends; he retaliates, and you evade; you try to shove your way past his guard, and he shoves right back. You try basic karate moves, he fights back with boxing. You try techniques unique to Suigetsu-ryu, and he slips away with unorthodox but effective counters. You advance, he retreats, until backed up against the big tree in the center of the courtyard; he ducks under your kick, which strikes the trunk of the tree, shaking leaves loose. Frustrated, you resort to a certain surprise trick that Grandfather pulled on you one time, putting your foot behind your opponents' so he trips when your attack knocks him backwards; but though the trick knocks him over, your follow-up is cut short when he grabs a handful of sandy dirt from the pond shore and flings it at your eyes. You instinctively close your eyes to avoid it, but the momentary blind spot is enough for him to land a low kick that sends you hobbling backwards. You thought he had a technique, but he's not fighting by any kind of rules or style you can tell, just wild strikes and aggression.

Someone loses balance and collides with the other -- you're not even sure who was first -- and both of you go to the ground. The foreigner has the weight and power advantage and gets on top first, but you twist your head away from the punches, and are able to gain some leverage. Suigetsu-ryu employs a handful of judo techniques for such situations, and you use one to turn things around and get a joint lock, but he has one hand hammering at your ribs now while the other scrambles for purchase on your face trying to hook your mouth or nostrils, highly illegal in any competition but this isn't a competition is it, and you strain to fight through while still trying to keep your hold locked in, just pull a little harder and you've got this, just a little more--

"AHEM."

Grandfather is standing nearby, glaring down at you. Another foreigner, a man, is standing beside him with his arms folded. They both look very, very unhappy.
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>>5219560

A few minutes later, in the kitchen. You're holding a ice bag to your throbbing shoulder, while next to you, the blonde kid is fiddling with a bandage over his cut eyebrow. Grandfather and the other man are sitting at the kitchen table, talking to each other, as it turns out the foreigner speaks decent Japanese.

"The responsibility is mine, and my grandson's," Grandfather says. "He should know better than to act this way."

"No, the fault is mine, and this young fool's," the man says. "I told him to be on his best behavior in a guest's house, and this is what happens."

"I insist the fault is ours. My grandson has acted shamefully for one of our family."

"To be honest, old man, I'm sure my ward here is to blame. He's always getting himself into trouble, one way or another."

Grandfather says to you, "Apologize, now."

>Apologize. (Sincere)
>Apologize. (False)
>Refuse.
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>>5219564
>Refuse.
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>>5219564
>Refuse.
I will not apologize for protecting the koi and the house from this feral child
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>>5219564
>Apologize. (False)
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>>5219564
>Refuse
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>>5219564
>With all due respect Grandafather, he threw stones at the koi fish. I refuse.

Fifal piety is important, and we should do as he says. But youthful disobedience.
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>>5219564
>Refuse.
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>>5219564
>Apologize. (Sincere)
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>>5219564
>>Refuse.
Never back down. Never.
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>>5219564
>I will apologize for making a mess, but I will not apologize for defending our home and the koi.
This kid sticks me as the righteous sort, if not downright stubborn when antagonized.
He'll have to mellow out later (if he ever does).
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>>5219564
>Refuse.
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>>5219564

"I refuse," you say. "With all due respect, Grandfather, he threw stones at the fish. I will apologize to you for making a mess, but not for defending our home, and certainly not to him." You glare at the kid next to you.

"These two are guests in our house," Grandfather says. "They are here by my personal invitation. Tell me, when you encountered this boy in the garden, how long did you try to solve the problem without violence? Did you remember what I've always said to seek every possible avenue to resolve a situation peacefully? Or did you resort to the fist at the first sign of an obstacle?" He already knows the answer. Lying is never an option around him. He sighs and shakes his head in disappointment.

"Saito-sensei, please," the foreigner says. "Don't be too hard on your grandson. I told mine here to stay put and not wander off, but sure enough, that's what he did. Wouldn't surprise me if he said or did something to pick a fight, too." He glances over at the kid. "He's had a rough time of it. Ever since, well, you know when. The orphanage wasn't kind to him. And I'm hardly the man to teach him how to solve problems without fighting. Just how to not get his ass kicked when he does." He laughs. "Seems like it didn't help much today. Your boy gave him a good pounding."

"Quite frankly, I'm disappointed in that as well," Grandfather says. "Not only that my grandson got into a fight in our own home, but that he couldn't win. Hasn't your ward only started training in the past two years or so? It shouldn't have been a draw."

"Hey, don't sell him short. He's got a real talent. Could be courtesy of his old man, who knows?"

"Perhaps. It makes one wonder what else he might have inherited."

"Look, I'm keeping an eye on him, all right? I'll make sure he turns out okay."

So the foreigner isn't actually the boy's father. Why are they together, then? Master and student, perhaps? Right now the boy is looking around, bored, the only one who doesn't understand the conversation in the room. You wonder what they're doing here together, why Grandfather would have invited them.

Eventually, you're dismissed. Grandfather says he has important things to discuss with you later, but for now, he needs to talk to the guests. You can hear them switch to English as you leave the room.

Disgruntled, you head to the family room to try and have some fun before you get your full reprimand from Grandfather. The family keeps a small old television set in here, and you were able to save up enough money to buy one of the new FES video game consoles that everyone has been talking about. You decide to play:

>Super Pierre Bros
>Ninja City
>Legend of the Space Princess
>Bike Fantasy
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>>5220281
>Ninja City
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>>5220281
>Ninja city

Ninjas are cool
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>>5220281
>Legend of the Space Princess
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>>5220281
>Ninja City
Gotta build up that hand eye coordination.
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>>5220281
>Bike Fantasy
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>>5220281
>Leend of the Space Princess
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>>5220281
Ninja City
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>>5220281
Oh boy I can't wait to play the Namicom.
>Legend of the space princess
Time for obscure puzzles and backtracking
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>>5220281

You pick up the cartridge for Ninja City, careful to blow into it first to clear the dust, slot it into the FES, and start it up. You're greeted by the familiar pixelated title screen of two angry-looking dudes ready to take on the world, with a bunch of evil ninjas behind them. These two guys are Alex and Joe, from Lake City, and they have to stop the evil Xeed terrorist organization who want to extort a billion dollars from the US government, and have also kidnapped Alex's girlfriend! Why a Japanese game company would make a game about ninjas but give everything American names, you're not sure. but you enjoy it anyway. You move from left to right through Lake City's streets and nightclubs and factories, beating up hundreds of dudes with your fists.

You haven't beaten the game yet, it's pretty hard, but you're hoping at the end that Alex and Joe can defeat Dr. X, the boss of Xeed; rescue the girl; and save the day. It's nice to imagine a world where you can solve everything just by punching dudes in the face. Real life is more complicated.

Unfortunately, you keep dying to the second-to-last boss, Dr. X's right hand man, a huge guy who uses kung fu. You have to beat him before you can enter the final chamber. Someday you'll figure it out, but right now he's just too fast and brutal for you. And it's hard to concentrate right now, what with everything that's happened today. When Grandmother comes and asks for your help for something, you're fine with putting down the game.

Grandmother needs your help in cleaning out the old guest house, the one in the back of the garden. Your shoulder still hurts, but you can't just leave her to do all this herself, so you help out as best you can. While you help her to hoist up the futons to air them out, you vent to her about your frustrations, how you were only defending the house and the koi fish against that idiot and Grandfather wanted you to apologize. "It's not fair!"

"Oh, you have to forgive your grandfather, dear," Grandmother says. "You try so hard to be like your father. Sometimes I think he forgets you're not him, that you're still young. He expects a lot from you. But I think that's because he believes you can do it, don't you think?"

"I guess." Your thoughts have been preoccupied, so it's not until now you think about what you're doing. Why your grandparents might want this small, unused guest house cleaned up right at this particular time. You connect the dots. "He's not staying here, is he, Grandmother? Please tell me that yellow ape isn't staying here."

"Dear, please. Try to understand. The boy, he's like you. He lost his father around the same time as you. But he didn't have any other family. He was left all alone. Imagine if you didn't have Grandfather or myself, or your mother, or your sister. Don't you think you would feel lost and afraid, too?"

>I guess that's true.
>He's still a jerk.
>What happened to him?
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>>5220789
>He's still a jerk.
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>>5220789
>What happened to him?
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>>5220789
>He's still a jerk.
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>>5220789
>>He's still a jerk.
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>>5220789
>I guess that's true.
>He's still a jerk.
Why not both?
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>>5220789
>I guess thats true
>But he is still jerk.

You can recognise that someone has had a hard life, and that he is an asshole.
But the two will come to understand eachother later. Probably.
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>>5220789
>>5220829 +1
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>>5220789
>He's still a jerk.
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>>5220789
>What happened to him?
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>>5220789
>>What happened to him?
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>>5220789

"Even if that's true, he's still a jerk," you say. "He should know how to behave in somebody else's home. What is he even doing here? Why did Grandfather say he invited him?"

"Your grandfather wants to teach the boy," Grandmother says. "I don't quite understand it, but he seemed to think it was very important. Especially considering who -- oh, perhaps I'm saying too much."

"What else is there I don't know about this guy? Wait, hold on ... you said he lost his father around the same time as I did. Who was he?"

"Excuse me?"

"The boy's father. Who was he?" You have a growing suspicion, a feeling of cold dread creeping over you.

"Oh, dear, that isn't important. Please --"

His mentor is about the same age as Father would be today. That means he must be -- yes. The timing all lines up. "It's him, isn't it? The ape is his son. The man behind what happened to Father." You see the truth of it in Grandmother's sad expression. "I can't believe this!" You cast aside the cleaning supplies you're holding, rags and brushes scattering on the ground. "You expect me to put up with this? With having that man's son here, not just under our roof, but staying here as a guest?"

Grandmother continues to look at you with sadness. You know that she must be feeling compassion for the boy. "Ryoma, please. Try to understand. He's not responsible for what happened. Perhaps someday you'll even grow to see what you have in common."

"Never," you say emphatically. "If Grandfather wishes it, I will obey the head of the family. But tell that ape to keep his distance from me. I don't have to forgive him. And I certainly don't have to like him or be friends with him."

You take your frustration out on the wooden training dummy, late into the evening.
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>>5221811

Burn Creek, Canada
199X
Now

The bar radio shifting to a loud electric guitar riff opening of a song brings out of your memories. Eight years since Jack showed up on your doorstep. Things have changed a lot since then. You're not sure why that particular memory occured to you now. Maybe it's the fact that you're currently surrounded by big, idiotic gaijin. Yeah, that's probably it.

The sign over the bar says No Smoking but the bartender in front of you has a lit cigarette in his mouth as he pours you a beer. The air is dim and smoky and smells of sawdust. Behind and around you are what a charitable man might call salt-of-the-earth types, mostly dressed in flannel shirts and mesh caps; drinking, smoking, laughing, and occasionally fist-fighting. This is the Buck & Beer, a bar on the edge of a small town that's barely more than a truck stop, miles from anywere, in the middle of a forested valley

"Here you go, bud," the bartender says as he puts down the drink for you. "What brings you around these parts? We don't see many of your type around here. City type, I mean."

>I'm looking for someone. Maybe you can help.
>Just passing through. Don't mind me.
>I'm doing ninja training, up in the mountains.
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>>5221813
>I'm looking for someone. Maybe you can help.

Odds are if we are looking for someone and they came through they would have stopped by.
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>>5221813
>I'm doing ninja training, up in the mountains.
I imagine Ryoma takes great joy in fucking with foreigners.
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>>5221813
>>I'm doing ninja training, up in the mountains.
Mess with their heads.
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>>5221813
>I'm doing ninja training, up in the mountains.
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>>5221813
>Ninja training. The ancient and revered art of ninjutsu
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>>5221813
>Whatever, just keep pouring
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>>5221813
>I'm doing ninja training, up in the mountains.
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>>5221813
>I'm looking for someone. Maybe you can help.
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>>5221813
>I'm looking for someone. Maybe you can help.
>>
>>5221813
>I'm doing ninja training, up in the mountains.

Am i reading it correctly that Ryoma's dad was killed by Jack's dad, who was then killed by the mysterious stranger?
also Kinda into this possibility of "okay normally in this tournament ppl hunt You to fight; this time, You hunt Ppl to fight"
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>>5222067
I came to the same conclusion about the dads but it's also possible the dads killed each other in their fight, just more unlikely based on what we read so far
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>>5221813
>I'm looking for someone. Maybe you can help.
>>
>>5221813

"I'm doing ninja training, up in the mountains," you say with a straight face.

"Ninja training?" The bartender's eyes go wide. "You mean that ka-ra-tay stuff they show in the movies?"

"Exactly. It's a secret art from my homeland. Every day my master forces me to run up and down a mountain ten times, then cross an obstacle course over spike pits, then fight a bear using only one hand. At night, well, that's when it gets dangerous." You take a sip of your beer to avoid laughing.

"Wow, that's really something, mister," the bartender says. "Feel like I should warn you, though. These hosers you see around here, they're mostly workers up at the logging camps, or the truckers that haul the lumber in and outta there. They don't have much to do out here in the boonies. Not much around for miles but rocks and trees. No cable TV. That means they get real bored. Start looking for anything to entertain themselves. You understand what I'm saying?"

As if on cue, a heavy, calloused hand lands on your shoulder.

You felt them approaching several moments ago, of course. But you suppose this was inevitable. Might as well get it out of the way. "Fellas," you say, standing up, pausing to drop some loonies on the bar, then turning to face the loose half-circle of lumberjacks who have surrounded you. "Let's take this outside, shall we?"
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>>5223579

The low sun casts a warm orange hue on the vast, slowly drifting clouds overhead. A chill wind blows through your thin jacket. You stand In the center of the dirt parking lot, surrounded by semi-trailers and Toyota pickups. Opposite you stand five burly, bearded, flannel-clad locals. You haven't asked what their reason for wanting to start a fight is. Racism? Generic prejudice against outsiders? Or just bored, like the bartender said?

Whatever it is, the danger is real. You're confident you could beat any of these local hicks one-on-one. They might each have an advantage of several inches in height and 20-30 pounds in weight class, but Suigetsu-ryu has many techniques intended to even the playing field against larger opponents.

However, it's not a style especially suited to engaging multiple foes, and you've never spent much time training the few techniques that are useful for such a situation. It's a duelist's art, and you've practiced it as one.

Even for fighters experienced in situations like these, with a style suited to them, you know that it's easy to get distracted when fighting a group. A single lucky shot from a blind spot can stun you long enough for the group to each get in a solid hit, and that's the end of it right there. You'd better be careful here.

>Take out the one who looks like the leader.
>Goad them into fighting one at a time.
>Try to talk your way out of this, or at least stall while you think of something
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>>5223582
>Try to talk your way out of this, or at least stall while you think of something
No point fighting some assholes who think attacking random people is "fun."
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>>5223582
>>Try to talk your way out of this, or at least stall while you think of something
Look for weapons while you stall, invent some bullshit about your "one-millimeter killing strike."
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>>5223582
>Goad them into fighting one at a time.
Get this over with. Surely our taunt game is decent after spending enough time with Jack.
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>>5223582
>Set down some ground rules, no weapons and it stops when someone cries mercy.

>Goad them into one on ones.
"Which of you is first to show me some rural hospitality?"
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>>5223582
>Try to talk your way out of this, or at least stall while you think of something
Let's try and pace over to a chokepoint so they can only come to us one at a time. Maybe between semi trailers?
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>>5223582
>Take out the one who looks like the leader.
Break the leader and the group's will shatters. Strike hard and first so we can fight on our own terms rather than letting them gang up on us.
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>>5223582
>Take out the one who looks like the leader.
Hit him hard and fast to take him out quick and if the rest still want smokes, give them the same treatment
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>>5223582
>Goad them into fighting one at a time.
That's prolly one of the safer choices we can take. Maybe take advantage of the boredom that we've heard so much about.
"You'll all forget this fight by tomorrow if you just attack me together. Fight me one-on-one, each of you, and I promise this'll be something 'fun' for you all to remember."
>>
>>5223843
support
>>
>>5223582
>Goad them into fighting one at a time
I guess this is a good time to see how much Ryoma knows about Canadian culture.
>>
>>5223582

Maybe you can goad them into fighting one at a time. "This is how you guys prove you're tough shit, huh? Five on one? None of you got the guts to face me straight up?"

"Keep your tarp on, bud," the biggest guy with the biggest beard says. He pauses to spit tobacco juice onto the dirt. "We might be assholes, but we're not assholes. That is, uhh -- what I mean is, I don't need the boys here to kick your ass from here to the Kootenays. I can handle it myself." He steps forward, cracking the knuckles of one hand, then the other. His four friends spread out and form a loose circle around you. It makes you uneasy being surrounded, but they keep their distance, at least for the moment.

You're still trying to think of ways to prod at these guys. If you can anger and provoke the one who's challenging you, it would cause him to fight wildly, making his moves predictable. Unfortunately, you don't have Jack's talent for pissing people off. What would he say in this situation? What cultural sensitivities do Canadians have? "Your local hockey team is bad."

"Obviously," the man says.

"The Canucks are hosers," says one of the men behind him. "Tell us something we don't know, eh?"

You pause to consider what else might work. Doesn't Canada still have the Queen of England as their ruler, or something? "The Queen sucks."

"What did he say?" asks one of the men.

"I think he said Queen sucks," says another.

"What?! You take that back!" The big guy furiously lunges towards you. "Freddie Mercury was a saint!"

Okay, whatever works. The right hook comes in from above and to the left, a heavy, slow, inefficient punch, just like you were hoping for. Stepping inside the arc of the blow, you fire a low jab that lands just below the armpit of the arm he's punching with, disabling that arm. He grits his teeth and rallies through the pain to grab at you with the other arm, but you duck and strike with a right straight to the stomach; follow up with a left chop, taking advantage of the opening on that side; right uppercut, to complete the combination. A sequence you've practiced a thousand times on the wooden dummies in the yard back home, now finding its purchase on flesh and bone. It's enough to stagger the man, sending him stumbling back, dazed; you finish the job with a big side kick, putting all of your force behind the blow, blasting the man off his feet.

His friends don't like that. They start to close in. Guess they only meant what they said about fighting one at a time as long as it meant them winning. You prepare yourself for things to get serious. Then --
>>
>>5224388

"Well, well. Looks like you guys are having a fun time out here." An unexpectedly familiar voice. "Mind if I crash the party?"

One of the lumberjacks turns around to address the speaker, only to reel backwards from the sudden, heavy impact of a fist to the face. A low, sweeping kick while he's already off balance knocks him down.

"What the fuck?" "This fucking prick!" Two more men run in, coming in from either side, each swinging a fist at the same time. Their attacks are back-stepped, and the momentum of their missed swings is used to slam their faces together. Not skull-to-skull, which could be lethal; just enough so those two will look seriously ugly for a few days. Even uglier than usual.

"Hey, now, is that any way to treat a guest in your country?" Jack says. "I thought you guys up north were supposed to be nice."

You look at the last lumberjack standing, see the fear in his weak knees, turn to face him. "Well? Care to avenge your buddies here?" You gesture at the men lying on the ground. "If not, you better turn around and run. Now," you say, emphasizing the last word. The man backs up, almost tripping over his own feet, then turns and runs for the hills.

"I could have handled that myself," you say.

"Should have handled it faster, then," Jack says with a grin. "You snooze, you lose."

"You asshole." You walk towards Jack, ignoring the groaning lumberjacks. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Looking for you. It's been a while. Good to see you, dickhead." He extends his hand to shake.

You firmly clasp his hand and shake it, finding yourself smiling despite yourself. "How did you even find me out here?"

"It was a little tough, but I talked to Ayame, and that gave me a starting point. That and, I'm not sure if you're noticed, but you kind of stand out around here. Once I got the right neighborhood, it wasn't too hard to track you down." Jack points a thumb back towards the bar. "Here, I'm thirsty. Let's grab a drink while we talk."

The bartender smiles when he sees you walk back up to the bar. "I had a feeling you'd be the one coming back. Those boys shouldn't have messed with a ninja, eh?"

You solemnly nod. "Seems like all that one-handed bear fighting was worth it."

Jack looks puzzled, but moves on, ordering a beer for each of you. Once his arrives, he drains half of it in one long drink. "Aaahh, that hits the spot. Been on the road a while now, straight up from California. Guess you were surprised to see me."

"A little, yeah. Not that surprised, though. You showing up someplace unpredictable I'd never expect to find you, when I think about it, is pretty normal."

>So why are you looking for me?
>What kinds of trouble have you been getting into?
>How's your teacher doing these days?
>>
>>5224393
>What kinds of trouble have you been getting into?
Because he obviously has been getting into trouble. It's jack.
>>
>>5224393
>What kinds of trouble have you been getting into?
>>
>>5224393
>What kinds of trouble have you been getting into?
>>
>>5224393
>What kinds of trouble have you been getting into?
>>
>>5224393
>How's your teacher doing these days?
>>
>>5224393
>What kinds of trouble have you been getting into?
>>
>>5224393
>What kinds of trouble have you been getting into?
>>
>>5224393
>What's the trouble
>Hows the teacher
>>
>>5224393
>So why are you looking for me?
>>
>>5224393

You say, "So, what kinds of trouble have you been getting yourself into? Still travelling America looking for fights, sleeping in railyards, same old stuff?"

"Hah. Well, you could say that's why I'm here. Turns out I found myself a whole new kind of trouble. Kinda in over my head on this one. I can't go to Sensei, I already know he'd just call me an idiot. So, I tracked you down. Wanted to see if you knew anything about this, or had any advice."

It's not unusual for Jack to ask your opinion on something. When it comes to things related to boxing or the hobo lifestyle, he's an expert, but with most other things he's often oddly inexperienced. Still, that's quite a distance to travel just for a few words of counsel. "You travelled across the continent to ask my advice on something?"

Jack shrugs. "If you were home, I would've talked to you on the phone."

"Sounds like it must be important. Let's hear it."

"Well, it all started in L.A. after I won a fight, when this limousine showed up out of nowhere, and this woman in a suit got out ..." Jack tells you the story of that night and the following day: his encounter with the strange woman; agreeing to participate in a tournament he didn't understand; being ambushed at the railyard, and the ensuing battle on a moving flatbed train car against Kurt Reiter.

"I thought it would be more like the tournaments you're part of," Jack says afterwards. "Rules and stuff. A crowd of people, everyone claps politely, you bow and get paid and go home. Nobody really gets hurt. Instead, turns out people die in this crazy tournament, this 'Kumite.' You gotta fight for your life each round. That's messed up, right?"

"It is a far cry from the ordinary competitions," you admit.

"I mean, who would sign up for this, knowing what they were getting into? A million dollars is a lot of money, sure, but you'd have to be really desperate or crazy to sign up to a death tournament just for honor or pride, right?"

You say, "When you put it that way ..."

Jack drains his third beer, then says, "Anyway, before we get into that, why don't you tell me what's going on with you? What the hell brings you up here to Canada? Is there a Moose-style kung fu I don't know about that you're training in, or what?"

>I'm searching for my opponent in the Kumite.
>Don't worry about it.
>>
>>5225457
>>I'm searching for my opponent in the Kumite.
No reason we shouldn't be a straight shooter- even if he is our opponent. Not like either of you would try to kill the other.
>>
>>5225457
>I'm searching for my opponent in the Kumite.
>>
>>5225457
>I'm searching for my opponent in the Kumite.
>>
>>5225457
>Looking for the other guy that's desperate or crazy enough to join a death tournament.
>>
>>5225457
>I'm searching for my opponent in the Kumite.
>>
>>5225457
>Looking for the other guy that's desperate or crazy enough to join a death tournament.
>>
>>5225457
>I'm searching for my next opponent in the Kumite.

>Dead eye stare.
>>
>>5225457

You'll have to tell him eventually, now that he's mixed up in this too. Might as well get it out there. "I'm searching for the other guy that's desperate or crazy enough to join a death tournament," you say. "My opponent."

"Wait, what? Your opponent? Then, that means you're in the tournament too?" Jack takes a moment to let that sink in. "Wow. I don't know what I expected to hear, but it wasn't that. Aren't you supposed to leave dangerous, pointless things to me?"

"Unlike you, I understood what I was getting into. I learned about the Kumite before. Family history, as it turns out. My father was involved. Grandfather before him. Now it's my turn." You considering mentioning the connection to his own ancestry, but decide against it. It's been a long time since you stopped associating Jack with his biological father. No reason to bring it up, at least right now.

"Wow," Jack says. "And you're here looking for the guy you're set up to fight." Something troubling occurs to him. "Wait, it's not --" He leans back a little on his stool, away from you. "It's not ME, is it?"

"Heh. Relax. Why would I come to Canada to look for you? If I did, by coincidence, happen to match up against you in the preliminary, I'd let you know," you assure him. "Not that you're easy to get a hold of these days, but I'd leave a message with Max. Then I'd go to America and start asking if anyone had seen a hobo with a red baseball cap."
>>
>>5229359

"So I guess your guy lives around here, up in the Great White North?"

"Yeah. He's supposed to be working in one of the lumber camps in these hills. Just need to figure out which one, or hope I run into him at one of these local watering holes. No luck so far." You look around at the handful of people still in the bar. "If he's anything like the description I got, I'll know him when I see him."

"How does that work, anyway?" Jack looks puzzled. "That woman, Miranda, she didn't tell me anything about who I was matched up against, just made some smug, ominous comments and left. Then, bright and early that same morning, less than 12 hours after I agreed to sign up, I get sneak attacked by some asshole. Why did that guy know I was his opponent, but I didn't know shit? What are the rules on who gets to know what?"

"It's complicated," you say, unsure of what to say on the matter.

"Oh, great. I almost got smoked in the face and taken out of the tournament right there without a fight because it's complicated. That explains a lot."

"I can explain, but it's a long story. What does it matter, anyway? Why did you sign up in the first place? You hear about the prize money, decide that the wandering life was getting old already?"

"Yeah, right. It's not about the money. It's about --" he hesitates. "Well, it's partly that I want to try to prove myself. I've been fighting a lot, you know. Travelling around, hunting down the big dogs and challenging them. This is the next step, take it to the real deal, the international underground. But I guess it's also about my dad. Not Max, I mean. The other one."

"Jack, we've talked about this."

"I know, but still. I feel like I have to do something to set myself apart. You always wanted to be like your father, but me -- well, I need to figure out my own way." He takes a drink of beer, probably covering up his embarassment for talking about a sensitive topic. "What about you, what's your deal? Aren't you supposed to be the smart one? How did you end up thinking this was a good idea?"

>I'm searching for the man who killed my father.
>I'm here to prove myself a worthy successor to the family.
>I want to hone my skills by challenging the best.
>>
>>5229360
>>I'm searching for the man who killed my father.
VENGEANCE FORESTALLED- NEVER FORGOTTEN
>>
>>5229360
>I'm searching for the man who killed my father.
But also a hint of
>I want to hone my skills by challenging the best.
Ryoma's here for a reason, but damn if he doesn't love a good fight against a worthy opponent, no matter how much he hides it.
>>
>>5229360
>I'm here to prove myself a worthy successor to the family.
>>
>>5229360
>Proving myself worthy
>>
>>5229360
>>I'm searching for the man who killed my father.
>>
>>5229360
>I want to hone my skills by challenging the best.
I thought Max and co. already killed the guy who killed Ryoma's dad
>>
>>5230278
Clearly not, if we're being offered the option for vengeance on him.
>>
>>5229360

"I'm searching for someone," you say. "Another person in the tournament."

"Who is it?" Jack asks.

"The man who killed my father."

"Wow." Jack weighs that heavy information. "I remember, now. Max told me that my father was responsible. That it was his will behind what happened back then. But he didn't bother to get his hands dirty. Made someone else do it for him. Come to think of it, I never did hear about what happened to the man who actually did the deed. He's still out there, huh?"

"Grandfather and I spent a long time searching for him. But he was a ghost. Disappeared fifteen years ago, nowhere to be found. Now word is he's come back, to join this year's Kumite. I don't know why. All I know is that I need to find him."

"And you figure, if you survive long enough in the tournament, you'll eventually get to face him."

"Yes."

Jack thinks it over. "What if he loses?"

"He won't," you say with certainty. "He's strong. He might be older than he was, but I doubt he'll have slowed down much, and he'll have the benefit of age and experience. He won't lose to some wannabe. I know he won't."

"Okay, what if you lose?"

"I'll just have to fight well enough to make it that far. I don't especially care about the championship. But it takes me reaching the final round to face him, I'll do whatever it takes."

"Hah. Well, good luck with that, pal. If you want to face him in the finals, one of you is going to have to beat me," Jack says, pointing his thumb towards himself. "And we both know that's not going to happen. I'm gonna be the one taking home that championship."

"As I recall, our score is dead even." You recall the many times you and Jack have fought each other, mostly as sparring partners, occasionally for real. Though your animosity has transformed over the years, your rivalry hasn't. "Don't be too confident. I've improved since the last time we sparred."

"So have I. We'll just have to see. Maybe I'll be the one who ends up on his side of the bracket. I'll take down this asshole for you, then we'll meet up in the finals ourselves. Wouldn't that be something." Jack is smiling, but his eyes are dead serious.
>>
>>5230548

The door to the bar is 2 meters tall, but the man who walks inside has to duck his head to get through. Full beard, ragged mop of curly hair. A jacket that barely fits on his outsized frame. He bellows in a voice that easily drowns out the music and commotion. "It's payday, boys! You know what that means, it means we're getting stoned and drunk as fuck tonight! Drinks are on me all night, starting as soon as someone around here gives me a fucking smoke!" He holds up his empty pack of cigarettes, and a cheer goes up from the lumberjacks and truck drivers. Men gather around the giant to hand over cigarettes, slapping him on the back and laughing. A can of beer arrives from the bar, gets passed over. The man's hand dwarfs the can. He drinks it one go, lets out a belch as he crushes the can with one hand, and tosses it to the ground by the bar.

Jack is watching the scene as well. He asks you, "Is that --?"

"Yeah," you say. "That's him."

"Yikes. Look at the size on him. How big are those boots?" Jack lets out a whistle. "I've gone up against big guys before, but this is something else. He's built different, that's for sure." He looks over at you. "What are you going to do?"

>Be direct. Tell him exactly what's up.
>Talk to him, but don't mention the tournament yet.
>Keep your distance for now. See what happens.
>>
>>5230550
>Be direct. Tell him exactly what's up.
Someone like him, I doubt he's going to get all too inebriated tonight. Still, kind of a dick move to wait until someone's sculled a bunch of booze to fight them.

Besides, he'll probably see us sooner or later.
>>
>>5230550
>>Be direct. Tell him exactly what's up.
Straight shooter, yet again.
>>
>>5230550
>Talk to him, but don't mention the tournament yet.
All's fair in Kumite And war.
>>
>>5230550
>Be direct. Tell him exactly what's up.
>>
>>5230550
>Be direct. Tell him exactly what's up.
>>
>>5230550
>>Be direct. Tell him exactly what's up.
>>
>>5230550

"I'm going to tell him exactly what the situation is," you say.

"Guess I should have expected that," Jack says. "You still gotta do everything by the book."

"You think I should perform some kind of ambush, like the man who attacked you? I'd disgrace myself."

"No, no, I just mean ..." Jack shrugs. "You could wait a bit, scope things out, try to get a read on him. Instead you're going to, what, walk right up to him and introduce yourself? Tell him up front you're his opponent?"

"Yes."

"Heh. Well, can't say I'd do anything differently, I just thought you might have some kind of plan. You want to wait until later, or do it right now?"

"Right now," you say, getting up from the barstool. "With his size, I doubt he can get drunk that fast, but I'd rather not wait."

"I'll come with you," Jack says, standing up as well. "Make sure his friends don't get up to any funny business."

With Jack following just behind and to the side, you walk over to the group of revelers. Some of them notice you approaching; their smiles drop as they turn towards you. A chill wind blows along the floor from the cracks in the doors. You stop in front of the group, looking up at the bearded giant. "Mr. Harbeck?"

The man is in the middle of having a joint lit for him -- he holds up one finger in a 'wait' gesture as he puffs to make sure the weed catches flame, then takes a great big inhale, holds it for a few seconds, and breathes out a huge cloud of dope smoke. "My third-grade teacher and my first foreman are the only ones who ever called me Mr. Harbeck," he says, wisps of smoke still escaping with his breath. "They were assholes. My friends call me Randy. Which do you wanna be?"

One of the men watching you say, "Randy, these are the karate guys who just beat the shit outta Wayne and them. Out in the parking lot just now."

"No shit?" Randy looks down at you, considering. You can sense an ominous volatility emanating from below his friendy smile. "What can I do you for, karate guys?"

"Just confirming you're the man who has signed up for the tournament," you say. "And you're prepared to participate in the opening round."

"Now how would you know about that?" he asks.

"Because I'm your opponent in the preliminary. Ryoma Saito. Nice to meet you."
>>
>>5233822

The big man guffaws loudly, along with the rest of his crew. "Look, little man, you're what, five foot seven inches? Eight? It's cool that you took out Wayne and his guys, you know. Really, I'm impressed. Takes balls and skill to do that. But they were some dumbass drunks looking to pick a fight with an out-of-towner. I'm built different. I'm a genetic freak. You see this?" He flexes a bicep that's probably the size of your head. "Why should I fight you? I don't get anything out of squashing a bug. Look, if you really are my opponent in the tournament, there's no reason for you to get hurt, all right? We'll say I won, quick and easy, and you can just clear out of here. Hell, stick around and have a drink with us, if you want. What do you say?"

>Prove your skills with a quick demonstration.
>Provoke him by asking if he's afraid.
>Give Jack a cue, he should be good at this.
>>
>>5233823
>Give Jack a cue, he should be good at this.
>>
>>5233823
>give jack a cue.
>>
>>5233823
>Give Jack a cue, he should be good at this.
I'm unsure of if this means Jack taunts for us or acts as our hypeman. Either one is a good time.
>>
>>5233823
>Give Jack a cue, he should be good at this.
>>
>>5233823
>>Give Jack a cue, he should be good at this.
You don't want to sucker punch the guy, that's dirty- but you can't just let him run roughshod over you. And you can't really talk trash like Jack can.
>>
>>5233823
>Provoke him by asking if he's afraid.
>>
>>5233823
>Prove your skills with a quick demonstration.
>>
>>5233823
>Give Jack a cue, he should be good at this.
IDK what exactly this means but it's too interesting to pass up
>>
>>5233823
>Give Jack a cue
>>
>>5233823
>Give Jack a cue, he should be good at this.
...Glass him
>>
>>5233823

You look at Jack. "Want to handle this part?"

"Who, me? Why?"

You shrug. "Seems like the perfect situation for your natural talent for making people want to fight you."

"Gee, thanks," Jack says with heavy sarcasm. "You know I'm still sore from my run-in with that German guy, right?"

"So? You don't have to take them on all at once. You can just fight, like, half of them."

"Fine." Jack sticks his thumbs in his belt and swaggers up a few steps. "All right, listen here, you pajama-wearing, pimple-faced, gutter-trash, momma's boy, maple-syrup-drinking, toad-eating, dog's breath, pansy, lamewad, half-pint, fart-catching, bootlicking --" He goes on like this for a while. You can see the locals' faces get redder and angrier, until eventually one of them's had enough and takes a swing. Jack neatly sidesteps it and trips the guy, putting him on the ground without stopping his litany of insults. " -- crackerhead, yokel, nancy boys --" Another three guys run forward, spreading out this time to attack from three sides. Jack stuffs the one to his left with an elbow to the stomach, clocks the right one with a spinning roundhouse kick, then roughly throws the third to the ground with an improvised wrestling toss. "Come on, is that all you got? Seriously?"

You say, "Didn't you just tell me you were sore?"

"Yeah, well, I got warmed up."
>>
>>5238556

Randy folds his arms, looking down at the scene, four of his friends on the ground, Jack not even breathing hard. "You got some moves, blondie. What's your deal here? I thought it was your friend you wanted me to scrap with."

"I'm just here as a concerned citizen," Jack says. "If it makes you feel any better, this guy and me have a tied record in our bouts together. Anything I can do, he can do too, just as good. Well, almost as good." You shoot him a glare, and he grins at you.

"All right, all right, you've made your point," Randy says. "But I'm not fighting. Not tonight, I mean. Tonight I'm blowing my paycheck on dope and booze, and that's that. Grab a room at the motel down the road. Tell them I sent you. Tomorrow, we'll get into it. Deal?" He sticks out a gigantic, hairy-knuckled hand.

By the rules of the tournament, you don't have to accept. You could throw down, right here and now, on the sawdust-strewn floor of this bar, and it would count.

Of course, a small voice whispers inside you: you could wait until later tonight, and ambush him after he's been drinking. That would count, too, in this tournament without rules. Isn't it worth doing anything for revenge? Is playing fair against this drunken lout really worth taking the chance of losing your chance to confront your father's killer?

On the other hand, you know that there's no way your father would have done this himself. To be honest, it's not something you're comfortable with either. You entered this tournament with the intention of fighting fair. Is it worth abandoning your father's principles, and your own, to take revenge?

>Fight right here and now.
>Ambush him later.
>Shake hands, fight tomorrow.
>>
>>5238560
>Fight right here and now.
We came here to fight, not sit around and wait for this dude to blow his paycheck.
>>
>>5238560
>>Fight right here and now.
>>
>>5238560
>Shake hands, fight tomorrow.
>>
>>5238560
Aaah, good old Jack.

>Shake hands, fight tomorrow.
We've got nothing personal against this guy, and he doesn't seem the type to try and ambush us. Might as well chill.
>>
>>5238560
>Shake hands, fight tomorrow.
But be ready for the handshake to be a trap to enter a grapple immediately.
>>
>>5238946
I support this action. Suspicion Is sky high
>>
>>5238560
>Shake hands, fight tomorrow.

But also supporting >>5238855 since we know that not everyone will be trustworthy in this tournament.
>>
>>5239377
I assume you meant
>>5238946

I'll support that too. I half expect the guy's enough of a grappling expert that it won't matter and we'll have been power bombed before we could do anything, but we'd be wise to be suspicious anyway.
>>
>>5239462
Yup, must've misclicked. Good catch.
>>
>>5238560
>Fight right here and now.
>>
>>5238560
>Shake hands, fight tomorrow
Not gonna throw away our honor or start being a hot-head (yet)
>>
>>5238560

Though you could force the issue, you have nothing personal against this man, and you're certainly not about to throw away your honor or family name. It's only the first round of the tournament, after all. You'll do as he wishes, and wait until tomorrow.

Even so, when you extend your hand, your senses are on high alert. Not everyone in the tournament will be as honorable as you, and this could just be a trick. You might find yourself power bombed through a table a few seconds from now, if you aren't careful.

Once you actually clasp hands with the giant, you realize it's even worse than you thought. He could probably crush a few of the bones in your hand just by squeezing right now. You tense up as you prepare yourself for any sign that betrays his intent of violence. Grandfather called it sakki, or bloodthirst. An experienced fighter learns to feel it emanating from others around them, like air currents on the skin. But you don't sense any now. You get your hand back without it being crushed or grappled.

"Randy Harbeck," the giant says. "Although I guess you knew that already. The big shots let you know about me, but not me about you. Funny how that works."

"It's complicated," you say for the second time tonight. "But I didn't want to take advantage of it, which is why I introduced myself."

"Appreciate that, brother," he says, laughing as he claps you on the shoulder. It almost knocks you off your feet. "Now what do you say you two sit down and have a drink with us? If we're going to beat the shit out of each other tomorrow, we might as well party tonight, right? Booze is on me!"

"I'm not sure that's a good idea," you say warily.

"Ah, c'mon," Jack says. "What could it hurt? If they try any funny business, I'll have your back."

>Walk away, you can't afford to take chances.
>Maybe just one ...
>Show them you can hold your liquor
>>
>>5240001
>Walk away, you can't afford to take chances.
Less functional acetaldehyde dehydrogenase is no joke.
>>
>>5240001
>Walk away, you can't afford to take chances.
Lets not risk it.
>>
>>5240001
>>Walk away, you can't afford to take chances.
I don't think our boy would get drunk where other people could see him.
>>
>>5240001
>Walk away
A warrior must be clear of mind
>>
>>5240001
>Maybe just one ...
>>
>>5240001
>Walk away, you can't afford to take chances.
If he's giving us a day to prepare ourselves, better make the most of it.
>>
>>5240001
>Walk away
I REMEMBER THIS EPISODE OF STREET FIGHTER 2 V
Our Friend gets his ass kicked too
>>
>>5240001

"No thanks," you say politely, raising a hand. "I need to keep a clear head and prepare myself."

Randy looks at you, sizing you up anew. "You really think you got a shot at winning, don't you?"

"Of course."

"I respect the confidence, even if it gets you an ass-kicking. Ten AM, outside this bar, tomorrow. See you then, bud." Randy's already turning his attention back to his drinks. Someone places a bottle of whiskey in front of him, and he picks it up and drinks straight from the bottle, draining half of it in one go, easy as if it were a glass of water. Japan might be a land of serious drinkers, but this is something else. You wonder what kind of legendary amounts of alcohol it takes to inebriate a man this size.

Outside the bar, it's not hard to spot the motel he was talking about. Burn Creek is only a few streets and a railway crossing in size, really more of a glorified truck stop than an actual town. You'll get a room, spend some time meditating and clearing your head, prepare yourself for what's to come.

Jack has followed you outside, although you notice he keeps glancing back at the bar. "So, partner, you need help with anything to get yourself ready? Because, you know ..."

You laugh. "I'll be fine. I mostly plan on thinking anyway, getting myself ready mentally. 'Fire up', I think you would call it."

"You sure? If there's anything I can do to help out, just say the word." He clearly wants to head back into the bar and join the party, but his concern for you is winning out.

"Go ahead and join them, Jack. I don't mind." You know he'd stay out of it if you asked him to, but you'll be fine on your own tonight. "That said, I would prefer if you showed a little restraint. I'd like you there and relatively alert tomorrow, to make sure nothing weird happens. Other than that, enjoy yourself."

"All right, pal, if you say so. You know where to find me if you change your mind." Jack gives you a wave as he turns around and heads back into the bar. You can hear him shouting from out here. "Hey, jackoffs! You got any decent beer in this country, or what?"

You can feel yourself smiling as you watch Jack disappear inside. Just today, you were thinking about the first time you met, and how you ended up in a fight before you even knew each others' names. How you hated him, then. You wanted nothing more than to get rid of him. Somewhere along the way he became, instead, your closest friend outside your blood relations, almost an honorary family member.

You're not exactly sure when the change happened. It must have been gradual. But it probably started all those years ago, that one time, high up in the mountains ...
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>>5241894

Mount Kurama, Japan
198X
6 years ago


It's been several days since Grandfather drove you out here in his rickety Toyota. According to him, back in his day, he had to survive out here with nothing but the clothes on his back and a small knife. Fortunately for you, the small hut he built out here was still standing, thanks to Father's repairs, and you were allowed to bring a set of modern tools, some basic supplies, a few changes of clothes, and a bedroll.

You're still abandoned out here in the wilderness of the mountains to train for weeks, sure, but at least you aren't having to learn survivalist skills at the same time.

At first, you were hesitant about this idea. Supposedly, every generation of the Saito family spends time isolated in the mountains to take their training to the next level. It sounded like a goofy old tradition, and would provide nothing but a few weeks of sore muscles from sleeping on stones in the ground. But it's actually worked out well. This has been a good opportunity to really focus up.

There are a variety of tools and training dummies out here, some of which were left by previous generations, others you've set up yourself. It's a good system to simulate various forms of offensive maneuvers your opponents might try. So to start with, you've been practicing your defensive skills, specifically, one particular advanced technique that Grandfather has shown you the basics of:

>Flowing Water: Improves the amount of damage blocked by defense actions.
>Ascending Carp: A successful defense action will damage an opponent's posture and stamina.
>Descending Carp: A successful defense action will increase the damage of the next offensive move.
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>>5241900
>>>Flowing Water: Improves the amount of damage blocked by defense actions.
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>>5241900
>Descending Carp: A successful defense action will increase the damage of the next offensive move.
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>>5241900
>>Ascending Carp: A successful defense action will damage an opponent's posture and stamina.
Did you know a carp that ascends up a waterfall becomes a dragon?
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>>5241900
>Ascending Carp

He is a duelist, hurting your enemy when they attack you is greatly beneficial
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>>5241900
>Ascending Carp: A successful defense action will damage an opponent's posture and stamina.
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>>5241900
>Ascending Carp: A successful defense action will damage an opponent's posture and stamina.
>>
>>5241900
>Descending Carp: A successful defense action will increase the damage of the next offensive move.
Wait a minute... god damn it, we're Genichiro. Are we adopted?
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>>5241900
>Ascending Carp: A successful defense action will damage an opponent's posture and stamina.
Descending Carp sounds great. But it's got the problem of:
Enemy Attack > Descending Counter > Enemy Counter-reflect
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>>5241900

There's a legend about a waterfall, somewhere in China. The Dragon Gate, it's called. While many carp swim upstream against the river's strong current, that rare fish which has the strength and courage to leap up the waterfall will become a dragon. Presumably, your ancestor was inspired by this tale when he developed this technique, a method for putting the strength of one's whole body into an upwards block, sweeping the opponent's attack away with such force that it disrupts their stance and exhausts their stamina. It requires flawless timing to execute correctly, and being slightly too late or early has the opposite effect, burning more stamina for a weaker block. But you think that the variety of practice you're getting with the various training instruments, and with the opportunity to properly focus out here in the wilderness, you're starting to get the hang of it.

You weren't sure about this whole mountain training thing when your Grandfather first told you about it, but you'd say that, in general, it's working out pretty well. You have enough food, and the hut isn't such a bad place to spend the nights. The forest is peaceful, but you aren't so far from civilization that you'd be in trouble if something happened.

Yes, overall, this little excursion has been good for you. It's a chance to get away from the stresses and routines of everyday life, and focus on what matters to you, which is your training in the family style.

There's just one small problem, one thing that keeps it all from being perfect, one little disturbance that prevents the serenity of the forest from being complete.

In fact, there it is right now, reappearing in the training camp clearing with its blonde hair matted down, still wet from the river. "Goddamn," Jack announces loudly, still toweling his hair off. "That water is colder than an eskimo in a snowmobile race. Makes my balls shrivel up."

So much for the serenity of the forest. "Must you be so loud all the time? And so crass?" You're speaking in English. Despite being a guest of your house for over a year now, the ape has barely learned any Japanese, so you're having to put the English you learned in school to use to communicate beyond grunts and gestures. Not that it avails you anything, talking to a caveman like this.

"Sorry for offending your delicate ears, princess." Jack throws his towel on the drying line, then steps up to the dangling logs to practice his jumping kicks. He's taller than you, but less flexible, so it's about as difficult for him to hit those as it is for you.

Having the ape around is the only thing that prevents you from properly enjoying your time out here. But ...

>You have to admit, he's worked hard out here.
>You understand now, a little, why Grandfather wanted to train him.
>But nothing, get this guy away from me already!
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>>5243188
>You understand now, a little, why Grandfather wanted to train him.
Jack IS pretty talented if the hints at his backstory are any indication.
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>>5243188
>>You understand now, a little, why Grandfather wanted to train him.
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>>5243188
>You understand now, a little, why Grandfather wanted to train him.
>>
>>5243188

As much as you hate to admit it, the guy has talent. He was already strong just from his natural brawling abiltity and limited boxing training, and now he's easily taking to the elements of Saito karate that Grandfather is teaching him, and adapting them into his own style. That, and he's dedicated, which you respect more than just talent. Once he understood how far Grandfather was beyond him and how much he had to learn, he's rarely slacked off on his lessons or training.

He might have got a later start than you, but he's rapidly catching up. You're ahead of him in your duel count, but not by much, and maybe not for long. Fighting him is dangerous and tense. He has an aggressive instinct you don't have, an awareness of any kind of opening he can exploit to create offense. His defense is still sloppy, though, which is something you excel at, presenting an iron wall that not even his relentless offense can blast through. In that way, your skills balance each other out, neither able to consistently gain an advantage over the other.

So you can see why Grandfather was interested in training a talented pupil. But there's something else, too ...

Early in Jack's training, Grandfather started including him in the lessons focused on chi and arts. In fact, he would sometimes take Jack aside for private instruction in those matters, lessons he said you didn't need to hear, as you had already learned the relevant lessons. That was confusing. Although you were curious to know what they were talking about, you told yourself you were above spying. However, Ayame felt no such hestitation, and you couldn't avoid asking her later about what she had overhead spying from the bushes. She described Jack manifesting a small flame, no larger than a candle, but struggling to keep it that size as it flared wildly, erupting in spits of fire seemingly at random. Grandfather was teaching him how to keep it steady.

You're not entirely sure what it means. But you started to understand why he had been brought overseas. His chi was wild and out of control. If anyone could teach him how to understand it, that would be your grandfather.
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>>5243789

Jack pauses to take a break from his jump kick practice. "Hey," he calls out to you, still catching his breath. "Show me that one thing again."

"That thing?"

"You know, that move you've been practicing. I forget the name, but, it was badass. I want to see how you do it."

You're still annoyed at having the quiet forest disturbed by his presence. "Why should I?"

"What, trying to keep your secrets? Need an edge in our spars?" Jack spreads his hands out to either side. "Come on, man. Maybe we don't like each other, but we're both out here to learn, right? I'm learning. I want to see how you do it. Don't be a dick, be a dude."

"Ugh ... fine." You get up and approach the dummy you were using earlier. Might as well get him off your back. It's not because you want to help him, and it's absolutely, definitely not because you want to show off your new technique that you worked hard at learning.

>Wave Slice, an arts technique that creates a long-range chi projectile of varying speed and intensity.
>Nighthawk Strike, a leap forward into an airborne kick. Evades an enemy's midrange strike then chains into further kicks.
>Dusklight Kick, a rising double kick. A powerful counter-offensive maneuver when pressed by close range or airborne attack.
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>>5243791
>Nighthawk Strike, a leap forward into an airborne kick. Evades an enemy's midrange strike then chains into further kicks.
>>
>>5243791
>Dusklight Kick, a rising double kick. A powerful counter-offensive maneuver when pressed by close range or airborne attack.
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>>5243791
>Dusklight Kick

Ascending carp into Dusklight Kick would be BRUTAL
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>>5243791
>Dusklight Kick, a rising double kick. A powerful counter-offensive maneuver when pressed by close range or airborne attack.
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>>5243791
>Dusklight Kick, a rising double kick. A powerful counter-offensive maneuver when pressed by close range or airborne attack.
This sounds like a double flash kick and I'm so there for it.
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>>5243791
>Dusklight Kick, a rising double kick. A powerful counter-offensive maneuver when pressed by close range or airborne attack.
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>>5243791
>>Dusklight Kick, a rising double kick. A powerful counter-offensive maneuver when pressed by close range or airborne attack.